11/14/2012 - It's Elementary
Each week, I work with Nan Wilkinson’s 5th & 6th grade class at Arcadia Neighborhood Learning Center – Phoenix, AZ

It's All About Images...and It's Easy!
Today was all about images. To help the kids move beyond just telling the sequence of events, I try to help them with showing what happened, and using images.

Luke told a story about trying to join a snowball fight, and just as he was going to throw his first snowball, it began to storm and his mother said they must go home immediately. I asked Luke to show us how he was feeling at when he didn't get to throw the snowball. He kicked the ground as if to say, "Darn!"

Donny told about skiing with his brother. Donny shouted, "Look out!" to him. Then Donny wasn't paying attention and hit a tree. I had Donny change from just telling us that he shouted, to really shouting at his brother. Then I asked him to show us what it was like to hit the tree. He scrunched into a ball and covered his head with his arms.

Earlier in the week, the kids had been using some foam cubes with different things printed on each side to practice improv stories (sort of like Rory's Story Cubes only with words or phrases). They had been waiting for me to come so they could challenge me to do an improv. Little did they know what was in store for them.

The cubes dictated my story: A famous explorer - Goes to school - Is frightened - Finds $100 - Bakes cookies

I told about Christopher Columbus who got $100 from Queen Isabella to discover a new land. He immediately lost the money. He was on his way to school to learn how to navigate his boat, when he was frightened by a frog. The frog had the $100 that he had lost, and Columbus took it back. When he got to school, the teacher changed the lesson plan for that day and taught the class how to bake cookies. They baked hundreds of cookies and then put them on the boats so Columbus and his crew would have something to eat. They zig-zagged across the ocean (because he never really learned how to navigate) and eventually landed in America. Columbus was quite pleased with himself, but heard the voice of Leif Erikson from high above him saying, "I was here first."

We discussed "Using and trusting your image engine", learned from a workshop with Laura Packer, and we put the concept to a test.

Every day, Nan brings her black Labrador retriever, Cody, to school. He stays in the class all day and the kids pet him and take care of him. Each day, at recess, he goes down the corridor to another class to get a treat. Cody was lying down in front of the class with his head down. I asked the class to imagine that Cody had a big bubble above his head. "What would be in the bubble?"

One at a time, the kids offered different images:

A big piece of beef jerky
Cody's tongue would be going in and out of his mouth
He would be smiling and enjoying the beef jerky
He would be saying "Mmmmm."
When he was finished, he would have a Slim Jim
He would go to the other teacher's class for more 
He saw everyone in the class as a piece of beef jerky
When he woke up, he wondered why every piece of beef jerky was looking at him

Many of the kids who rarely speak up, raised their hands to offer an image. When we finished, I asked them, "On a scale of 1-10, if 10 was the most difficult, how easy was it to come up with images?" Their answers were all either "one" or "two".

©Mark Goldman 2012

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For more information contact Mark Goldman - 602-390-3858 - Mark@Storytellermark.com


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England 2017

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